An Aerial Duel
Raven versus Red-Tailed Hawk
October 31, 2010


It was a fairly active day at Jo Hayes Vista (with over fifty redtails flying overhead in four hours), but the highlight of the day was a duel between a raven and an adult red-tailed hawk.

I've a sequence of seven photos showing the two of them (and then they dropped below the treeline).

raven and red-tailed hawk

The photo above is the redtail's uh-oh moment and the realization that there's trouble overhead.

Next, the hawk tries to maneuver away, and it looks like both birds are flying vertically.

raven and red-tailed hawk

The redtail cannot fly faster than the raven.

Incidentally, considering how both of them are approximately the same size, I'm assuming that the redtail is a male. (A female redtail would be larger.)

raven and red-tailed hawk

Both of them are upside-down!
raven and red-tailed hawk

And then there's another race.
raven and red-tailed hawk

Wheeeee! Upside-down flying is truly remarkable.
raven and red-tailed hawk

And then the two dropped down out of sight.
raven and red-tailed hawk

Of course I wish I knew how it ended, but what a beautiful display between the two.

Photo note: I used a Pentax K20D, with the Sigma 150-500mm lens for these photos, which were taken today, 31 October 2010.  

A day hawk watching from 2008   |   An eagle collection from fall 2008

The raven and the golf ball

My State College, Pennsylvania, photo bird list (including hawks)

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